LAHORE -  Opposition tore apart the Punjab budget yesterday blowing the whistle on the lady Finance Minister who finished off her speech with poetic expressions.

After all she was not walking in the street wearing a skirt.

They also do not belong to an ordinary folk on the street. But still they chose to blow whistles at her.

Assembly presented the scene of a street theatre for well over two hours. Political actors adopted a novel but a second-rate method to upset the apple cart.

Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal was just helpless to maintain order in the House.

The PTI-led Opposition launched the offensive in the very beginning, and it was so strong that only a woman with steady nerves could bear this up.

Barring the women legislators, all the PTI legislators were equipped with whistles which they would blow quite frequently to disrupt the budget speech. The Assembly floor was littered with copies of the budget speech as they tore it up to show their disrespect for the document. Full-throat sloganeering against the government also continued throughout the proceedings.

But the Finance Minister was not blowing the gaff on the lawmakers either. Copies of her budget speech were already being flashed on the television screens hours before she actually delivered her speech.

As the Chief Minister rested himself on his special chair in the Assembly, Shehbaz Sharif took special care not to make an eye contact with anybody in the House.

He did not take his eyes off the budget document for two hours except for few moments when he asked the Law Minister Rana Sanaullah to tell his colleagues to buck up the Finance Minister by desk-thumbing. He posed as if there was no Opposition making uproar in the House.

Shehbaz Sharif who made a rare appearance in the House, was welcomed by his party lawmakers who chanted the slogan: “Shair Aaya, Shair Aya.”

Opposition, on the other hand, received him with the slogan: “Go Nawaz Go.”  

Much like the scene in the National Assembly last week, there was competition among the Ministers to take a seat on the front rows.

Women Ministers were also in the race. It was a scene worth-watching as 10 Ministers sat on a sofa meant for five persons only.

It was also an exceptional day for the Chief Whip Rana Muhammad Arshad who could not find a seat in a House which gives a deserted look on other days. Yesterday, he was seen performing the duty of a messenger taking messages from the Law Minister and conveying them to other Ministers.

A strange clash of timings was also observed on the budget day.

If Punjab Governor Malik Rafique Rajwana had summoned the Assembly to meet on Friday at 2:30 pm, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif had convened a meeting of his Cabinet at the same time.

While the Governor had chosen this time for presentation of the annual budget, the Chief Minister had called his Cabinet to approve it before its presentation in the House. Eventually, the session started 100 minutes beyond the scheduled time.